Over time it's easy to slide into the routine of taking people for granted. Believe me, I'm not saying it's a good thing or that it's right in any shape or form, in fact quite the opposite but we all do it. I think it's hugely valuable to stop often, probably every day and just take a moment to be grateful to all of the people who have helped you get where you are today, or who are helping you get to where you want to be tomorrow.
To me there are 6 main categories of people that we need to stop taking for granted. If we don't, there will be ramifications, a harsh lesson I'm sure many people reading this are well aware of.
The biggest problem with taking our customers for granted is that sooner or later they will find someone who won't. We can never take a single customer for granted, especially in a world where there is so much choice that it's almost ridiculous. The problem is that most businesses put more effort into chasing new customers rather than acknowledging existing customers. It's all about respect, investing time and money into genuinely and personally thanking every customer you have. Let them know they are appreciated and that you don't take them for granted. Who has the time to do this? Businesses with not a lot of customers that's who. Please don't become one of these businesses by taking your customers for granted.
2. YOUR REFERRERS
This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I refer a lot of business to others, and I do it gladly. Normally with the first referral they make a big song and dance, and over time this dwindles to not even acknowledging that you have sent them business. Now I know we should not expect any kind of accolade, but I do. All I want is for the business I'm referring to acknowledge the referral and commit to doing a great job for them. I don't need anything else. Please don't take your referrers for granted, because if you do, they will stop referring.
3. YOUR TEAM
Our teams, those staff members past and present who have played a role in helping us to grow our business, teaching us lessons along the way, challenging us, challenging the way we do what we do, those that drive us crazy and those that are always there to pick up the pieces when we need them to - the whole bunch. In among the madness of the business world, it's very easy to forget just how important our team is and just what they contribute on every level. Please don't take your team for granted, because much of our success is due to them.
4. YOUR SUPPLIERS
It's easy to look at our suppliers as purely "transactional" partners, but if you have been working together for a long time, it's much more than that. There has to be give and take and a spirit of "long term" partnership involved. For most of us, our suppliers really have a huge impact on our business and in tough times, they can help us to survive. Please don't take your suppliers for granted, because you need them as much they need you, instead appreciate them and do what you can to work together for a long time.
5. YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
And of course most of us could not do what we do without the help and support of our family and friends - the group we probably take for granted more than any other. Just because your family might enjoy the benefits of your hard work financially, does not mean they don't pay a price. Please don't take your family or friends for granted, because without them, you probably would not be where you are today.
Last but not least, don't take yourself for granted. What do I mean by this? Well from my experience business owners in particular are pretty tough on themselves. They work crazy hours, they take a lot of risks, they have to put their name and reputation on the line every day - and much more. It's easy to forget what we do, it's easy to take ourselves for granted, it's easy to take our health for granted and it's easy not stop and remember all that we have achieved. Please don't take yourself for granted when it comes to your business.
Taking anyone for granted is not good for the soul or the business. To stop taking them for granted takes time, effort and energy - and often humility. Things that can be in short supply when we are crazy busy, tired, hustling and always fighting to get ahead. These are the times we need to be aware of the people in our life and the role they play.